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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Hey! Are you a cheat or entertainer? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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JackDaniel
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There is a thin fine line between the street hustlers and Busking Magicians.
Hustlers often do cups and balls, three card montes, shell games, dice or what ever to cheat you for a lot of money,
Magicians on the other hand do the same routines to entertain for crouds on the street for tips.
Do laymen walking by see the difference before they actually stop and see that you wouldn't cheat them?

We are all there to make money right? Where does the line go from being a Magician to beeing just another Hustler?

Is it as simple as: "I'm a magician 'cause I don't make bets"??
Jack.
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MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations Jack,

I'm going to have to disagree with you. Your "fine line" is more akin to a chasm -- maybe the Grand Canyon.

Buskers earn their money by entertaining an audience and enticing them to tip accordingly. Hustlers take advantage of human greed and the only entertainment is watching the mark's head explode, oh, and watching the hustler led off in handcuffs by the police. I always get a laugh out of that.

If you don't completely understand the difference between busking and hustling, maybe you should consider another line of work. Magicians are entertainers, hustlers are vermin and give all street performers a bad name.

That's my $.02 (USD) worth. YMMV.

Joe in KC

Have a magical life, live a great adventure!
Mark Rough
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Add my two cents to Joe's. He's right. There's a huge difference. By the way, I've never seen a hustler doing cups and balls. The shell game, sure. Yes they're related but . . .

Mark
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Kozmo
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When you work the street, say New Orleans, you are often treated like a hustler. I have the table, the appearance of exactly what you are saying. People walk by and refuse to even acknowledge my existance. It SUCKS! But I understand. What they don't understand is how big an insult it is. The most difficult thing about being a street magi is dealing with rejection that comes in all different forms, but the worst thing is being treated like a hustler; it's flat insulting!

There is a big difference. You need to learn that.

koz
Doug Conn
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There is a fine line...
But only in the PERCEPTION of your average tourist.

I don't think it's insulting, people are just ignorant... and there are reasons for that:

In a city (like New Orleans) where everyone has their hand out and there are scams around every corner, it's to be expected that some/many folks will assume you're 'hustling.' Many tourists will be hesitant before approaching a table where a guy has cards, cash and cups on the table... and many will have preconcieved notions that elicit 'insulting' comments.

I've found a nicer dress/costume makes a big difference... As does a sign; I made one that simply says "MAGIC." Those two things made the assumption I was a hustler happen much less often...

When people do assume I'm there to "hustle" I just smile at their ignorance (as their comments flow in one ear... and out the other). Ignorance is bliss (and can rarely be remedied in the heat of the moment). Their loss.
Whit Haydn
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I have heard complaints from hustlers that sometimes it is hard to get people to come over to their game because the passersby are afraid that they are magicians... Smile

Back in the early seventies, my street costume consisted of a 1930's double-breasted blue serge suit that I found in a thrift shop, with a gray Irish cloth cap.

It was very sharp, and I loved the look until the movie "The Sting" came out. Then I looked just like a con man to people. The fact that neither con men nor anyone else had dressed that way for 40 years didn't matter.

One guy in DC, the somewhat drunken owner of a restaurant, came out and yelled at me over and over to "Get your dirty games out of here." He yelled for the cops, but none came. He really wouldn't let it go, so I had to move on.

After several similar incidents, I had to abandon the costume.

So, I agree with Doug. The most important thing is to make it obvious in appearance, props, and in your tip-gathering bally that you are an artist and entertainer--not a hustler.

This is hard for some people to accept, since there are those who consider even buskers to be beggars and hustlers:

"I was in San Francisco once and a busker came up to me and begged me to think of a card so I played along and watched his trick, but it was not pleasant to be approached that way, even if I ignore the fact that I knew he'd be asking for money afterwards.

Someone once said, "Beggars are impossible! If you give them money you feel guilty and if you don't give them any money you feel guilty!"

This recent quote was from someone on another forum of this board. So even among the members of the Café and our fellow magicians there are some who associate the street performer with hustlers and beggars.
Kozmo
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Doug is likely right. Dress and a sign does help. I prefer to dress the way I dress. It's comfy, and to me it's insulting and sometimes I let them know. And sometimes when I let them know they stop and watch and then tell me they were glad they did. Also when I'm in New Orleans I do night time shows which is when most of the hustlers are out. So it's easy to fit me in there cause we all look similar: table, coins, cards....

Doug, I'm coming in next week and I would like to go to the Monday night thing--get in touch.

koz
JJDrew
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I think the confusion here is based on the use of similar tools to differing effects. Doctors and tattoo artists both essentially give injections with needles, but there is a great difference in their methods and goals.
JamesinLA
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I had no idea hustlers used cups and balls. Do they really? If so, I'd be interested in their routines--just for curiosity's sake. What do hustlers do with coins? I thought the only hustles were three card monte and the shell game. What are some others?
Thanks.
BTW, I have added a vest and tie to my costume and it has helped my hat.

Jim
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Swami Bill
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My $0.02 says pretty much the same thing. I used to have people pass me by or make snide comments about gambling and placing bets on the ball under the cup until I changed my approach. I got a sign and used the appropriate patter that made it clear that I was entertaining and not hustling. Magicians who busk vs. street hustlers? Big difference.

- Bill
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Bill Palmer
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Harry Anderson's approach was completely the opposite when he worked the drag in Austin. He basically encouraged the police to stand next to him to make sure he didn't take any bets on anything; he proved that he could win the shirt off your back, but wouldn't take your money...until the hat pitch. Then he would say something like, "Remember, I could have taken you for every red cent you have on you, so please be generous and give me just a little of your money."
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
JackDaniel
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Well guys, thanks for the genuine interest.

Let me tell you this, I work as a hospitality host for convention groups at the Candlewood Suites-Las Vegas, and my job is to make sure the guests experience the trip of their dreams.
I have to admit that I get pretty P***ed off when they arrive back at the hotel and tell me (quote):

"Jack, a street magician (using three plastic cups and a ball) just cheated me for 300$. What can you do about it?"(!)

Believe me, this has happened several times, and now a part of my job is warn people of those guys.
My point is: when laymen see a guy in a suit doing card tricks with a fold up table, or a guy doing a three shell game on a cardboard box - they don't see the difference.

Of course their confounded ignorance troubles me...

The point to my posting is for us magicians to share experiences and knowlege on how we should approach this growing concern; what can we do to make laymen see the difference?

I know it's a big fish to fry.
Jack.
Visit the magic of Vegas and your life will change forever..
Doug Conn
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In the words of Barnum:

"There's a sucker born every minute...
and two to take them."

Not much you can do about that.

Though, overall, I think most folks (the ones born during the other 59 seconds) can tell the difference between a hustler and an entertainer.

For those that don't... What can you do?

Here's a tip: I know many conventions that come to New Orleans include info in their convention packet warning them of the scams, etc.
RobertBloor
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Quote:
"Jack, a street magician (using three plastic cups and a ball) just cheated me for 300$. What can you do about it?"(!)


Good lord. Just imagine what they would've been taken for if "Jack" was using Gazzo cups instead of plastic cups.

And btw, Doug Conn is just that, a total Conn. His show was so good I had no choice but to drop money in his hat!

Robert Bloor
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-The Declaration of Independence
JamesinLA
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I wonder if conning people was part of the original use of the cups and balls way back when?!! Does anyone know anything about that?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
JJDrew
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James,
When I said that hustlers and magicians used the same tools, I should have been more precise and said that magicians use the tools of hustlers. There are obviously things that magicians use that hustlers don't. (Hippity hop rabbits comes to mind.) Smile
Sorry if my message was phrased in such a way that it overgeneralized.
That said, I too would be interested to hear of historic incidences of hustlers using cups and balls or other things generally associated with magicians.
deerbourne
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Quote:
On 2004-01-16 18:36, JamesinLA wrote:
I wonder if conning people was part of the original use of the cups and balls way back when?!! Does anyone know anything about that?

Jim


A Medieval painting, The Conjurer (Hieronymus Bosch), shows a magician performing the cups and balls while a cutpurse makes his living in back of the crowd.

I guess the fix has been in for a while!

Deerbourne
JamesinLA
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Yeah, I saw that picture too. But the cups and balls guy isn't actually getting people to bet on the cups and balls "game" itself. He's just holding people's interest while the pickpocket works, right? So I wonder if the cups and balls was ever actually used like a three shell game or three card monte to actually win bets, and if that was then actually the birth of the cups and balls?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
RobertBloor
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Actually if you watch Michael Ammar's tapes, Bob Reid goes into depth on the printed history of Cups and Balls.

I believe in most, the performer would use Cups and Balls to gather a crowd and afterwards, hock his goods.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
deerbourne
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Quote:
On 2004-01-20 12:12, RobertBloor wrote:
Actually if you watch Michael Ammar's tapes, Bob Reid goes into depth on the printed history of Cups and Balls.

I believe in most, the performer would use Cups and Balls to gather a crowd and afterwards, hock his goods.

Robert Bloor


Robert, I have vol 1 of his series. Is there more history on the other volumes?

Deerbourne
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